Hawks and Panthers Get Early Start on Trade Deadline

We don’t know what else the NHL trade deadline will hold for us, but this much we do know.

  • The Blackhawks clearly see a shot at winning the Stanley Cup and are going to do what they can to get there. They’ve already made moves to bolster their forwards, grabbing Andrew Ladd, Thomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise.
  • The Panthers, likewise, seem to be ready to make some noise, adding Jiri Hudler, Jakub Kindl and Teddy Purcell.
  • The Penguins are taking the Justin Schultz gamble, which for a single draft pick might be worthwhile, but he could also be a defensive disaster for a team that doesn’t need one of those too.

What else will we see?

I think the Rangers will make a move. Eric Staal is the obvious choice, but the Rangers will not sit this one out, they need another piece if they are going to make a Cup run.

The same could be said for Tampa, Boston, Detroit, and the Islanders, but whether they make a significant move or not is yet to be determined.

In the West, Nashville needs another piece up front, the Stars need some help on defense, and any of the Kings, Ducks, Sharks, etc. will be looking to shore up their lineups.

The bigger question is will there be anyone available that will actually make these teams better? Oh moves will be made, it’s just not clear that any of them will really push these teams over the top, without being a blockbuster type move for a star player, involving current roster players. I feel like there may be one or two of those in the pipeline, but could also see a trade deadline where nothing like that happens.

In the mean time, there are plenty of rumors. Most of which, are complete crap. The joys of trade deadline day!

 

Reading – The NHL’s war against female fans, and the media’s complicity in it

I don’t know that it’s an active war, but the NHL sure can act pretty clueless.

While Voynov was properly suspended after his arrest, the Kings and the league spending so much time focused on the salary cap ramifications and then breaking league rules just to let him skate in practice was tone deaf, to say the least.

With Kane, I don’t know what the correct thing to do is. He hasn’t been charged with anything. So do you keep him away from his livelihood? I don’t see that until he is charged with something, but having a press conference was crazy, and frankly the fans who cheered him like he was returning from injury or overcoming some other challenge should be embarrassed. I’m embarrassed by them as a hockey fan.

The NHL’s war against female fans, and the media’s complicity in it

Reading – Ex-NHL star Bernie Nicholls: ‘I have a hard time remembering games’ – CBSSports.com

It all comes down for me to whether the NHL knew, or didn’t know. If the league and owners knew, and kept throwing players out there the way Nicholls describes, the have a lot to answer for.

Ex-NHL star Bernie Nicholls: ‘I have a hard time remembering games’ – CBSSports.com

Annual Look at the Playoff Race Without the Loser Point

nhl shootout photo

Photo by slidingsideways

Every year, as the NHL winds down the regular season and the races for playoff seeding come to a close, I like to take a look at how much the “loser point” reeks havoc with the standings. Usually I do it before the final week of the season, but traveling out of the country for work has left me without access to games, or decent wifi, so this is it.

To keep it simple, I take a look at what OT and the shootout have done to the standings, comparing it to what it would look like if the NHL magically went back to ties after regulation and OT.

In the East the current standings look like this:

Atlantic Division

Montreal             48-22-10 (42 ROW)

Tampa Bay          48-24-8 (46 ROW)

Boston                  41-25-13 (37 ROW)

Detroit                  41-25-13 (37 ROW)

Ottawa                  40-26-13 (34 ROW)

Florida                 36-29-15 (28 ROW)

Metropolitan Division

NY Rangers        50-21-7 (46 ROW)

Washington        44-25-11 (39 ROW)

NY Islanders       46-27-6 (39 ROW)

Pittsburgh           42-26-11 (38 ROW)

Columbus            39-35-4 (31 ROW)

Actually, adjusted for counting OTL and shootout wins as ties, the playoff spots wouldn’t change much. The big change would be Tampa being clearly ahead of Montreal, Florida and Columbus would have been out of the playoff picture much earlier, and Ottawa would not be still be alive. So you could make the argument that the loser point is creating a playoff race that wouldn’t be there in the East. You could also argue that the extra points are artificially inflating the point totals of teams that don’t deserve to make the playoffs too.

In the West, however, where there is truly a race ridiculous race for playoff spots, the shootout rules are clearly having an impact.

Central Division

St. Louis            49-23-7 (40 ROW)

Nashville           47-22-10 (41 ROW)

Chicago              48-25-6 (39 ROW)

Minnesota        44-26-8 (40 ROW)

Winnipeg         40-26-12 (33 ROW)

Dallas                38-31-10 (34 ROW)

Colorado          36-31-12 (27 ROW)

Pacific Division

Anaheim         50-23-7 (42 ROW)

Vancouver      45-29-5 (40 ROW)

Calgary            43-29-7 (39 ROW)

Los Angeles    39-25-14 (37 ROW)

San Jose          39-31-9 (35 ROW)

The Central is being decided by shootout wins. Nashville has the most ROW, but find themselves second to St. Louis, and with Chicago right on their heels mostly due to those teams having 9 SO wins. At the edge of the playoffs, Winnipeg is clearly benefiting from both their 7 SO wins, and their 12 SO/OT losses. Their 33 ROW should have them out of the running (in fact, it’s one less than Dallas has and two less than San Jose, yet Dallas sits 6 points behind the Jets and the Sharks are 5.), but those extra points have them right there. Ironically, they are battling Los Angeles for the final wildcard spot, a team who’s real record is exactly .500. They’ve won 39 games and lost 39. But, they managed to get 14 of those losses to OT, so they sit with 92 points. Colorado is the team that should have been out of the playoff picture much earlier.

Oddly enough though, as of right now, the shootout rules appear to be a non-factor. The top 8 teams in ROW in each conference are, in fact, in the top 8 positions. The exact positioning is being altered slightly, but no one is missing the playoffs, as of right now. However, Ottawa and Winnipeg are still alive, so that could very well change.

Sports Irony as Durant Exits Playoffs

One definition of how ironic sports can be is watching Kevin Durant go out in the Western Conference Finals to the Spurs, who will go on to the NBA Finals. There in the NBA Finals, greeting them from the Heat bench, will be Greg Oden. 😉

Speaking of Finals, I’m just going to admit that I’m rooting for the Blackhawks in Game 7 for one reason only. Honestly, in the finals I’m obviously rooting against the Rangers first and foremost, but for the sake of my friends and fellow hockey fans back in Columbus, I hope it’s the Hawks. I’m not sure anyone deserves to have to watch Rick Nash and Jeff Carter (let alone Gaborik, Brassard, Dorsett, Moore, etc.) play against each other for the Cup after what they did to get out of Columbus.